The mission for an end to hunger in the Asia-Pacific region has received a boost after members of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation responded to a call by the its director-general, José Graziano da Silva, for a “massive effort” to end hunger there.
Graziano da Silva had earlier pointed out the “remarkable results” achieved in some countries of the region in reducing hunger.
“Thailand and Vietnam have reduced the number of hungry people in their countries by over 80%,” he said. China is also on track to halve the proportion of hungry people by 2015, he added. “For Asia as a whole, the proportion of hunger has fallen from 24.1% in 1990-92, to 13.5% in 2011-13.”
However, there is still much more to be done, said Graziano da Silva. Even if Asia and the Pacific reaches the FAO’s target of 12%, it would still have well over 500m hungry people—more than all the world’s other regions combined.
“We must not tolerate a situation in which a single man, woman or child is still condemned to suffer hunger in this prosperous region where there is enough food for all and the means exist to put an end to hunger,” he said.
The FAO has spent the last two years strengthening its technical abilities at regional, sub-regional and country level.
“We are working much more closely with governments, with international and regional institutions, with civil society and with the private sector to advance our goal of a food secure and sustainable world,” Graziano da Silva said.
“But our work will only matter if we transform this vision into reality. The renewed FAO is swinging into action.”
This year has been designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Family Farming, and the director-general has called on member states across Asia-Pacific to “work together, particularly at the national level, to reposition family farming at the centre of agricultural, environmental and social policies on national agendas.”
Family farmers and smallholders “do so much with so little, imagine if [they] received greater support from governments,” Graziano da Silva said.